EGYPT – Egypt’s soybean imports have been projected to further increase by 14% in 2019-20 as local processing capacity continues to surge, a report by United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) reveals.

The recent report by USDA projects soybean imports at 4 million tonnes in 2019-20, up from 3.5 million tonnes in 2018-19 with majority of the imports to be sourced from the United States.

According to the report, Egypt imported some 1.2 million tonnes of soybeans between October 2018 and February 2019, 99% of which originated from the United States.

 “U.S.-origin soybean exports to Egypt have risen to record levels since the onset of the U.S.-China trade tensions and China’s imposed retaliatory tariffs on U.S. soybeans.

“With Brazil-origin soybeans commanding a premium, combined with drought-induced tight supplies in Argentina, Egyptian traders and crushers are turning to the highly efficient and affordable U.S. soybeans,” says USDA.

Additionally, the USDA forecasts Egypt’s soybean meal production in 2019-20 at 3 million tonnes, up 11% compared to the 2018-19 estimate.

The agency revealed that out of the 3.43 million tonnes of soybeans imported by Egypt in 2018, 3 million tonnes was sourced for the United States.

“Industry sources report that meals produced from U.S.-origin soybeans show better uniformity, less fiber and are more nutritive than that of other origins.

We attribute the increase in soybean meal production to expanded local crush capacity, seeking to meet the expanding demand of the local feed industry, as well as that of the refining sector aiming to produce high quality blended oil for human consumption,” the USDA said.

Currently, Egypt counts with 180 poultry feed mills producing various types of feed formulations for the poultry industry; these supply over 95 percent of the domestic market’s demand.

According to the report, 10,000 hectares of soybean is currently under the crop denoting an 11 percent (1,000 hectares) increase compared to the USDA official MY 2018/19 estimate.

USDA projects an increase in the distribution of higher yield varieties, increasing yields per unit area alongside growing contractual farming between farmers and processors.

This is expected to subsequently improve yields to an average of 2.8 metric tonnes per hectare in 2019/20, up from last year’s 2.7 MT per hectare.

The projected soybean oil consumption for the 2019-2020 period was pinned at 810,000 MT, up 2.5 percent from the MY 2018/19 estimate of 790,000 metric tons.